The Polish Labour Code sets out the rights and obligations of employers and employees.
Equality and non-discrimination
Employees should be treated equally as regards starting and terminating employment, employment conditions, as well as promotion and access to training. Any direct or indirect employment discrimination on the basis of gender, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political conviction, trade union membership, ethnic background, faith and sexual orientation is unlawful irrespective of whether it is fixed-term, full-time or part-time employment.
Health and safety at work
Employers are responsible for health and safety at work. It is the employers’ duty to ensure safe working conditions, including measures preventing accidents at work, occupational diseases and other work-related diseases.
Employers are required to evaluate and document the occupational risk associated with the work performed, apply necessary preventative measures to minimize risks, and inform employees about occupational risks and the guidelines on protection against such risks. Employers are also required to provide employees with free personal protection equipment if it is necessary to protect them against hazards in the working environment.
According to the Act on occupational diseases and accidents at work, an accident at work is a sudden event caused by an external factor that occurs in connection with work and that causes injury or death. Occupational diseases are the diseases specified in the list of occupational diseases if they are caused by factors that are harmful to health and are present in the working environment or result from work practices.
The Labour Code regulates in detail commencement and termination of employment relationships, the basic rules for determining pay, issues related to working time and annual leave, the employment of minors, occupational health and safety rules as well as matters related to collective labour agreements.
When signing an employment contract, an employee agrees to perform work of a specified type for an employer, under the employer's supervision and at a time and place chosen by the employer. The employer agrees to pay remuneration to the employee.
An employment contract should be made in writing; it should specify the parties, the type of contract, the date it is signed, as well as the employment conditions and remuneration, in particular the following:
- type of work,
- place of work,
- date the employment commences,
- remuneration corresponding to the type of work,
- working time.
Working time cannot exceed 8 hours a day and an average of 40 hours a week in a given settlement period. Weekly working hours together with overtime cannot exceed an average of 48 hours a week in a given settlement period. Employees can receive additional remuneration or time off for overtime as set out in the Labour Code.
Full-time employees are entitled to annual leave as follows:
- 20 days - if an employee has been employed for less than 10 years,
- 26 days - if an employee has been employed for at least 10 years,
Employees who commence work for the first time accrue their leave entitlement for the calendar year in which they start working at the rate of 1/12 for each month worked, to which they would be entitled after they have worked for a year.
Employees are entitled to maternity leave as follows:
- 20 weeks for one child delivered at a single birth,
- 31 weeks for two children delivered at a single birth,
- 33 weeks for three children delivered at a single birth,
- 35 weeks for four children delivered at a single birth,
- 37 weeks for five and more children delivered at a single birth.
At least 2 weeks of a maternity leave can be taken before the anticipated date of birth.
The Labour Code also regulates in detail the situation of employees who adopt a child.
After 14 weeks of a maternity leave following the birth, an employee has a right not to take the remainder of the maternity leave. When this happens, the remainder of the maternity leave can be used by the child's father, at his written request, if he provides childcare to the child.
A child's father is entitled to a paternity leave amounting to 2 weeks, however lasting no longer than until the child is 12 months of age.
An employee who has been employed for at least 6 months is entitled to a childcare leave of up to three years in order to provide personal childcare, but no later than after the end of the fourth year of a child's life.
In addition, an employee can take a childcare leave of up to three years, but only until the child is 18 years of age, if the child's health requires personal care.
Remuneration should be fixed so that it corresponds to the particular type of work performed and the qualifications required to perform it. It should also correspond to the workload and quality of the work performed. Remuneration should also reflect the workload and quality of work performed.
The Polish Labour Code contains a provision that employees cannot renounce their right to remuneration or transfer this right to another person.
There is a guaranteed minimum wage, which is currently PLN 1,600 gross for full-time employees.
Labour law disputes are reviewed by the labour court. The Labour Code states, however, that an employer and an employee should strive to resolve a dispute amicably.
The Civil Proceedings Code contains special procedures in respect of labour law and social insurance, which aim to make it easier for employees to pursue claims.
Organising strikes in Poland is regulated by the Settlement of Collective Disputes Act. which does not give employers lockout rights. Failure to comply with the law provisions can result in financial penalties or a custodial sentence.
Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.
New employers have a duty to inform the relevant labour inspector and state sanitary inspector in writing about the place, type and scope of operations within 30 days of commencing business activity.
Health and safety at work
The National Labour Inspectorate is a body established to supervise and control compliance with labour law.
Information on sending employee's details to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), information on paying contributions and on the procedures for identification of payers can be found in the following document:
The following procedures can be found on the ZUS website:
Information and services related to employment and HR management can be found in the Human Resources section of the catalogue of services on the website of the Polish Chamber of Commerce.
The Institute for Private Enterprise and Democracy (IPED) cooperating with the Polish Chamber of Commerce has prepared the 'Fair Play Employment' standard that is concerned with the management of human resources. The Institute promotes the undertaking among businesses, which contributes to minimizing discrimination as the key problem on the job market. The application of the standard assists in adapting businesses and employees to structural changes in the economy.
The Polish Chamber of Commerce runs the Fair Play Business programme, which promotes business ethics in contacts with customers, partners, employees, shareholders, the local community and local and central authorities, as well as adherence to legal and social standards.